- N53 Billion higher than initial proposed
- N2.454 Trillion recurred
- N1.119 Trillion for capital
The Nigerian senate has today passed the budget of the sum of N4.695 trillion for the 2014 fiscal year in excess of N53 billion from the initial N4.642 trillion proposed by the Executive.
A breakdown of the total budget shows the approval of N2.454 trillion as recurrent expenditure while the capital expenditure got N1.119 trillion approval.
Also statutory transfers received N408.6 billion while N712 billion was earmarked for debt service in the fiscal year as the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P got an approval of N268.3 billion for the specified time.
The passage of the 2014 budget followed a motion on the report of the Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance, presented by Senator Ahmad Maccido and Chairman of the Appropriation Committee.
While responding to the discrepancy between the N268.3 the billion as proposed by the Executive and the N273.5 billion recommended by the committee, as noted by Senator Abdul Ahmad Ningi, Senator Maccido pointed out that the budget was predicated on $77.50 per barrel crude oil benchmark; the proposal of 23883 million per barrel of crude oil production exchange rate of N160 to $1.675 per cent growth rate Gross Domestic Product GDP) as well as 9.5 per cent inflation rate.
However, contrary to previous budgets the education sector got the largest chunk of the budget with N373.5 billion as recurrent expenditure and N50.7 billion as capital expenditure.
Following suit is security consisting of ministry of Defence, Army, Navy and Airforce with N314.3 billion as recurrent expenditure and N35.3 billion as capital expenditure.
In tow, the Police Affairs ministry received the sum of N295.5 billion as recurrent expenditure with N7.3 billion as its capital expenditure.
In his explanation to the senate, Senator Ahmad Maccido observed that: the drop in oil production volume as reflected in the budget estimates of the past two years remains a disturbing phenomenon.
The obvious reason has been traced to the obstruction of oil production as a result of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.
He noted said that: “the 2014-2016 Medium Term Fiscal Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy paper, upon which the 2014 budget was based, just like the previous editions, will require refining and retooling both in procedure and process. A major issue here is in the planning required and the engagement processes with all stakeholders which will have added effective value to the budget process”.
Speaking further, Maccido said, “the appalling state of the budget implementation in the country is still a worrying recurring decimal for our economy. Unspent funds that are rolled over into the economy only makes mockery of development which is a dire necessity across the nation”.
Also, the proposal by the senate Ad-hoc committee on the review of the 1999 constitution, to empower the president to initiate a new constitution for the nation which might have resulted from the referendum on the proposals of the on-going national conference hit a brick wall yesterday as Senator Ike Ekweremadu withdrew the proposal which sought to amend section 9 of the constitution by conferring on the president to initiate the process of evolving a new constitution.
It is recalled that this proposal was vehemently resisted by Senators from the North who saw it as an attempt to strip the legislature of its exclusive right.
Having withdrawn the proposal, the president of the Senate, Senator David Mark commended the committee’s decision as nationalistic.
It is recalled that the Executive presented a budget of N4.642 trillion last year’s December 19, which it described as a budget of “job creation and inclusive growth”, which the national assembly had since committed to committees for appropriate legislative action.
It is expected that the House of Representatives will also pass its version today or tomorrow.